In this guide, we’re looking at the best headphones for guitar amplifiers. Not only should your guitar amp headphones be great for you to be able to hear your music clearly, but you should also look for headphones that keep the sound in! This is sometimes the whole point of having headphones, as you want to avoid annoying the neighbors or your family with your amp being loud.
In this guide, we talk about some of the top features to look out for when choosing headphones for your amp, and we also review some of the very best models on the market to ensure you have plenty of choices, and a pair of headphones to suit your budget and your needs.
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best Headphones for Guitar Amps
Closed or Open Back Headphones
This is one decision you will have to make when you are choosing which headphones to buy. Do you want closed-back or open-back headphones? What’s the difference?
You can see the designs are different. A closed-back design usually has a hard material such as plastic around the ear cup keeping everything enclosed while an open back won’t have this. This means that it is easier for sound to escape. You might think that this makes it an easy choice and that you want to keep all the sound enclosed, but actually, open-back headphones are popular too.
Closed-back models do a good job of blocking out external sounds. If you are playing music on a train, for instance. Most active noise canceling models are closed designs. This doesn’t automatically make them better. Look at it this way, in your home, you won’t need to worry about canceling out the other external noises. Instead, you can just be sure to play in a quiet room.
One of the advantages of open-back headphones is usually the comfort aspect. For long periods of playing, they tend to put less strain on your ears and cause less fatigue. It’s basically a matter of personal preference.
We’ve discussed the impact that the back design of the ear cups can have on comfort, but there are other aspects of design that can play a big part in this, and comfort should definitely be high on your priorities when connecting headphones for guitar amps. You don’t want to be annoyed or even hurt by your headphones during those long practice sessions.
The materials used can play a big part in this. Softer materials with more padding will naturally provide you with far more in the way of long-term comfort.
The fit is also crucial to this, and an adjustable fitting headphone will allow you to get the right setting for your ears, that fits all the way around your head rather than causing issues regarding tightness. Tight headphones are annoying, to say the least, and will probably lead to you cutting your practice sessions short as you can’t put up with them any longer.
Frequency Response, Drivers and Power
These are vital features no matter what type of headphones you are buying, but we wanted to explain them a little so that people reading our guitar headphone amp information aren’t left wondering what these terms mean.
The frequency response relates to how well the headphones replicate certain frequencies of sound. Human hearing is roughly from 20-20,000 Hz, and headphones do their best to replicate this and provide an even response. Poor quality headphones can start to lose some of those frequencies, so you might not be able to hear bass or high-end sounds as clearly.
Drivers are what generates the sound in the first place, and big, powerful drivers will give a louder volume and sometimes a clearer sound overall. For instance, the bass response will probably be much better with a big driver.
Both are to be considered when buying headphones. You won’t want a puny set of cans that barely generates any sound, nor will you want headphones that don’t respond to bass.
Connecting to Your Amp
This is a question a lot of people have when they are looking to buy headphones to use with your guitar amp. How do you connect them? Most amplifiers will have a headphone output. This will be one of the two standard sizes, audio jack connectors will be 6.3mm or 3.5mm. Most headphone connections for a guitar amp will be the larger, 6.3mm or “1/4 inch” connections.
Some headphones come with a 6.3mm connection as standard, others have a 3.5mm. This isn’t a huge issue, you can buy an adapter to ensure that you have the correct connection. Some headphones can be used with detachable cables, so you can even buy a whole new cable to connect to your guitar amp, preserving the sound quality in the process as some adapters can have a negative impact.
You can even connect Bluetooth headphones if you wish! Though some amps do come with Bluetooth inbuilt, allowing you to connect to other Bluetooth devices and headphones, you can turn most amps into Bluetooth amps by using a product such as the Tone:Link from Blackstar amps. It’s basically a Bluetooth receiver that turns your headphone output into a device that can transmit audio to your cans. Guitar amp to headphones connections made easy.
This is an area where you will find a huge amount of variety on the market, and within our list. If you want to find a pair of headphones for $20, you can. The chances of them being very good, and giving you a clear guitar sound, are very slim.
Also, if you go to the very elite end of studio monitoring, you can pay many hundreds of dollars for studio headphones, which can sound exceptional but may be overkill if you are just looking to practice at home. Als, if you don’t have an amazing guitar and brilliant amp then there is not as much point. You won’t get studio quality out of the headphones, and the sound could let you down.
Our list has some good budget options, and some expensive headphones, the very best you can find, which will help you to clearly hear your guitar while practicing.
Best Headphones – Reviewed
1. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone – Best Overall
Sony is a huge brand in the world of electronics, and while they aren’t the first choice for every piece of studio equipment they do make some exceptional headphones.
As you can see from the design, these are incredibly rugged and hard-wearing. They also don’t take up a huge amount of space and can even be put in your bag, as they fold up. One of the reasons they are suitable for studio use and a good pair of headphones for connecting to your guitar amp is the fact that it comes with a 1/4 inch adapter so it can work directly with your amp output.
Closed-back design keeps the noise in (and stops external noises leaking in) and they’re generally pretty comfortable, too. The 40mm drivers provide plenty of volume and clarity, and the bass frequencies are very strong.
A great model for those who aren’t worried about having Bluetooth capabilities. They look and feel like they should be used within a recording studio, and have a strong frequency range, good level of comfort and all-round strong design, all for a cost that doesn’t break the bank.
Sennheiser is a massive studio brand and their Sennheiser HD 280PRO headphones give an excellent option for those wanting to put their headphones in their guitar amp and listen with both high sound quality and comfort.
You can see from taking one glance that these closed-back headphones offer plenty of comfort with ear pads that cushion around your ears and make these cans a viable option for listening for a long time. They’re also lightweight so they don’t put a lot of pressure on the ears.
The frequency response is impressive, the driver is pretty powerful and the bass response is particularly good. If you want the best headphones for guitar tones that are meaty and bass-driven then these could be a good option.
On top of this, loads of the components are really easy to replace, which means you can switch the cable for a 6.3mm connection if this is what you need for your amp. Also, the ear pads and padding along the headband can be replaced if they degrade over time.
If you want to play somewhere noisy, they may not be the best option, but if you want a pair of headphones that can do a great job for listening in a quiet space, with plenty of bass response and power, these could be an option to explore.
3. AKG K240STUDIO Semi-Open Over-Ear Professional Studio Headphones – Best Semi-Open
As you may have guessed, a semi-open design is a compromise option between having a closed back and open back design. The AKG K240 headphones are great for studio use and are popular among people who want to mix and produce music on headphones, plus, they’re relatively affordable.
One thing to note is the flat frequency response. These headphones don’t boost the bass or taint the sound in some other way, which can lead to you having a big, thick sound through your cans but it then sounds weak when you play straight through your amp.
These can connect to either of the mainstream styles of jack, either the mini 3.5mm or the 6.3mm design, and a screw-on adapter means you shouldn’t lose any sound quality. Like some of the other options, the cable is replaceable so if it degrades over time then you don’t need to ditch the cans altogether, you can just buy a new cable.
If you want clarity as one of your top priorities, and a studio-style sound for your guitar, these headphones could be a good option. Remember that they won’t isolate your sound very well as they have the semi-open design, but this isn’t a problem if you are practicing in your bedroom for instance. If you want to mix and make beats on the train, these might not be the best choice.
4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones – Best Build Quality
Want a rugged set of headphones that will last many years? You can get exactly this with the DT 770 headphones, which are made in Germany, arguably the audio equipment capital of the world. These cans use the best components and the build quality cannot be argued with. However, make no mistake, these aren’t just for utility, they are comfortable too and give a great sound. We’re happy to recommend these headphones for guitar amps.
The comfort comes from the velour ear pads and incredible flexible headband, too. You can replace different components, so if they wear over time you can simply order more. The innovative bass reflex system is designed to give a great boost in the low end. The clarity in the bass frequencies makes these a good choice for those with a love of heavy metal.
The 3.0m cable is on a single side. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 is neat and the cables won’t get in the way. It’s regarded as a classic headphone for use in the studio, but it is also great for taking out and about as the noise solution on this pair of headphones is impressive. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 do cost a little more than some of the other options on the list, but they should last a number of years.
If you are happy to spend a little bit extra to get high-quality and hopefully extra years of use out of your cans, these can be a great option. German craftsmanship in audio equipment is renowned for a reason, and the Beyerdynamic DT 770 model are a great example of some rugged and durable headphones which are great for use with a guitar.
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This is not one of the huge brands on the market, COWIN manufactures some good quality options that are relatively affordable, and still have plenty of quality. Even if you were to buy headphones with detachable cables, they don’t have the same flexibility as Bluetooth.
We definitely need to mention the fact that these don’t have automatic compatibility with your amplifier. You will need to buy some sort of receiver for your amp to ensure that the Bluetooth connection is possible. Once you’ve set this up, free movement away from your amp should be possible, ensuring you can do all the shredding around your home you want.
The 40mm drivers provide plenty of power, and a reliable Bluetooth connection combines with a 30 hour battery life to make a good, all-round offering for those looking for a Bluetooth pair of headphones. They aren’t quite studio quality in terms of the sound and frequency range, but they are better than the price would suggest. On top of this, they are great for other uses besides guitar, so you can take these headphones out with you to the gym, or for use on public transport.
These headphones are great if you are specifically in the market for Bluetooth. If not, you should probably get one of the other models on the list. These are absolutely fine for use as reference, and sound pretty good on a guitar amp, but they’re not the sort of elite headphones you should use to mix and produce an album.
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6. JLab Audio Neon Folding On-Ear Headphones – Budget Option
If you are looking for a cheap option then these could be the best headphones for guitar available on a very tight budget. They aren’t extremely elite, and the on-ear design doesn’t block out all of the external noise, but these headphones are respectable, especially when you compare them to the very modest price tag.
The JLab headphones could be a good option for guitar amps as long as you don’t have to cope with a lot of external noise. The noise can leak both out of these cans and into them from external sources, but it depends upon the area in which you’re using them.
The neodymium magnets in the driver provide a decent level of audio power in spite of the cheaper price tag. The wired design is fine, but you will need to get an adapter if you want to connect to the 6.3mm output of your amp, as these have a 3.5mm cable which isn’t detachable or replaceable.
They’re pretty lightweight, and the plush circular cups make them relatively comfortable. These headphones come with simple controls along the cable. These inline controls let you easily boost the volume or reduce the volume while you’re playing.
7. Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones – Best Value
The Presonus brand has really started to show what it can do in recent years, with models of headphones and speakers that are getting some very good reviews among audiophiles and casual listeners alike. The Presonus HD9 are monitoring headphones, designed to be used in the studio. This means they are a good option for use in a guitar amp, they can give a pretty accurate reproduction of the audio and help you to craft the tone you want to get from your guitar setup.
They have a closed-back design and the cup rotation makes them a very comfortable option. They can be adjusted to your head. The HD9 headphones even fold up, perfect for putting in your gig bag or guitar case if you are playing on the go. They have an accurate frequency response across all frequencies but upon listening, we were particularly impressed with the sound of the low-end sounds.
They’re closed-back in design and keep the sound in pretty well. On top of this, 45mm drivers give a pretty powerful punch to the audio.
The HD9 headphones help to improve the reputation that Presonus are building in the industry with their great studio monitors and studio headphones, too. These loud headphones can do a good job for even bassy genres of music. The low-end response is ideal for metal and heavy rock.
8. Monoprice Modern Retro Over Ear Headphones – Best Retro Design
As well as a very cool retro design, these Monoprice headphones are excellent for the money. If you are looking for guitar amp headphones for under $50 then these could be a good option, and they offer quite a lot power, too. 50mm drivers are actually bigger than most of the options on our list, in spite of the affordable price tag.
The Monoprice cans are designed to give a clean and even sound, so they don’t taint the audio with frequencies, either high or low. For cheap cans, the sound is pretty impressive, though don’t expect ultra high-fidelity. The frequency response is 15-25,000 Hz.
Naturally, looks aren’t the number one priority, but let’s face it, the retro design is cool. They have leather pads that help somewhat with ear fatigue over long-term use.
Overall, we shouldn’t choose any audio equipment based on the way it looks. Luckily, the Monoprice Modern Retro Over Ear Headphones has some good features and a relatively affordable price tag to go with the great retro design. If you are looking to get the highest fidelity possible, these aren’t for you, but they are a good choice for people on a tight budget.
As you can see, it is quite a unique decision to make depending on your current setup and the features you want to prioritize. If you want a Bluetooth option then your choices are limited, and if you want something with a truly elite, studio-level sound then you might have to part with a bit more cash. This is usually the way when it comes to buying any audio equipment. It’s no cheap hobby!
Also, you need to make sure you get the right design in terms of comfort and back design that doesn’t leak audio, especially if you need to keep quiet or have a lot of external noise. The Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones have made it to the very top of our list for quality, giving a balanced option, with plenty of compatibility with amplifiers, and they don’t cost as much as some of the other options on the list.
The best headphones for guitar amp is a personal choice, but the 8 choices above should be able to provide something that will suit your needs.